As reported by a new study, British Columbia coast was free of ice about 17,700 years ago which is much earlier than previous research estimated. The researchers now think that ancient people used British Columbia coast to reach South to the Americas during the Ice Age.
According to the scientists from the University of the Fraser Valley, BC coastline could’ve been a sort of an ice highway used by ancient humans to migrate northeast Russia to the Americas. Also, by the end o the last Ice Age, the thick ice sheets covering British Columbia coast started to melt, creating new pathways linking northeast Russia to the Americas.
“When the ice sheet peeled back, it would have opened a route from the north around the coast, and it would have been a very viable route, possibly a better route than the interior route,” said Professor Olav Lian, the study’s leading author.
Ancient people used the British Columbia coast to reach south during the last Ice Age
Back then, during the previous Ice Age, most of the ancient people were hunter-gatherers, so migration was common for them in their search for foods and safe places to stay rather than for exploring new worlds.
“If you think of the coastal route, there would be lots of things to eat. One of the questions about the interior route has always been ‘what would they have eaten?’ It would have been a cold and desolate place between two ice sheets,” said Professor Lian.
According to the study, British Columbia central coastline was free of ice sooner than initially estimated, which make the Professor Lian’s theory plausible.
“Our work changes the model of when this ice sheet retreated in the past, improving our understanding of past climate change over western North America. The new findings add an exciting piece to the puzzle surrounding the colonization of the continent,” added Christopher Darvill, the study’s co-author, and a geologist at the University of Manchester.